It is a condition when the body weight is 10-20% less than the average for one’s height, age and sex.



  1. Inadequate food intake

  2. Psychological factors which may cause a person to overeat.

  3. Increased physical activity

  4. Malabsorption due to vomiting and diarrhea

  5. Pathological conditions like fevers, cancers, infections, gastro-intestinal disturbances.

  6. Hormonal imbalance like hyperthyroidism

  7. Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa

Dietary management

  • The food plan must be suited to individual needs in terms of economical status, living conditions or accompanying disorder.

  • The cause of loss in weight must first be removed and a high calorie diet is given.

  • The food is gradually increased in both quantity and quality. Small frequent feedings help to increase the food intake in some individuals, while others may better tolerate a three meal pattern.

  • A variety of foods, well prepared and attractively served promote appetite and desire to eat.

  • Favorite foods and snacks given intermittently stimulate interest in eating and increased nutrient intake.

  • Exercise is also essential for an effective weight gain. It helps by stimulating appetite to improve the intake of calories. It also helps in improving muscle tone especially of the digestive system, resulting in better absorption and assimilation of food.